Thursday, 18 May 2017 19:55

Planning board endorses mall gaming operation

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The Roanoke Rapids Planning Board on a 5-2 vote this evening agreed to pass on a recommendation of approval for a conditional use permit which could lead to an electronic gaming operation at Becker Village Mall.

If approved by council at its June 6 meeting following a public hearing, the business would be located in the former Gold Mine arcade. Council’s meeting will be held at 5:15 p.m. in Lloyd Andrews City Meeting Hall.
While planning board members had concerns over the hours of operation as well as security when the business would be open beyond normal mall hours, board member Henry Ford recommended sending the matter to council for consideration, letting them decide whether to attach conditions should the panel approve the matter. His motion received a second from Terry Campbell. Sherry Mills and Dom Fenner voted against his motion.
Michelle Newsome Taylor submitted the CUP application to the city’s planning and development department and she and her daughter, Mindy King,have a contract with the mall, Planner Joe Hatch noted in his presentation to the board.
Hatch said in his report there is “No negative effect that an electronic gaming business would alter mall development or impede any potential improvements.”
However, he said, “It should be noted that the applicant proposes hours of business until 2 a.m. There is a concern about hours of business outside the general mall hours of business.”
The concern centers around the mall’s configuration and issues resulting from customers having access to the mall interior when no other businesses are open, he said. The mall’s hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Taylor said she set the hours of operation because she wasn’t sure the hours customers will come. “We’re really not sure until we operate.”
King said they plan to put more lights for security at the back of the mall.
Taylor said they plan to hire security when the business is operating after mall hours. “Safety is my main issue,” she said.
Hux said she had concerns with the hours. “I would feel much better if it operated with the regular mall hours. My main concern is safety and consistency with mall hours.”
Fenner indicated he was concerned with safety. “I’m concerned if you win big someone will mug you.”
Taylor and King are proposing the business will have 30 computer stations, up to 15 standup gaming machines and two fishing arcade tables.
King explained afterward the games are intended for adults and customers will have to be at least 18-years-old to play. No alcohol will be served but there will be snacks and coffee.
Taylor said while she doesn’t want to change the hours, “If we have to, we have to.”

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